‘they’ll have to carry me out in a box’

I took a trip back to Oldham today to catch up with Elijah, my Street Fighter who has touched people most. It’s getting on for 11 months since I first met him (I’ve been back numerous times since then) and precisely nothing has changed in his situation. He is now 90 years old and his property is technically owned by Oldham City Council, following a compulsory purchase order. The council still wants to get him out and to demolish the house, which is younger than its owner.  This is despite the fact the bottom has fallen out of the building industry, followed by the axing of the Housing Market Renewal Initiative – the budget funding this, ahem, ‘regeneration’ scheme – by the coalition government. Elijah is still determined to stay put – he said today they’d have to ‘carry him out in a box’. Most of the surrounding streets are totally empty now and many have been torn down. Grass seed and cherry trees have been planted where lives were once lived.

Elijah’s story, and others, can be viewed over here.

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